ANA Holdings Co and US mobility firm Joby Aviation on February 15 announced that they and Toyota Motor Corp will start considering a business tie-up in the field of flying cars.
With the entry of the Japan’s largest airline, the air transportation network can be fully developed to reach places that are too close or impractical for an aeroplane but inconveniently far by bus or taxi.
Joby plans to launch a flying car passenger service in the US in 2024. It was looking for a business partner in Japan with a view to expanding overseas.
Under the partnership, ANA will start a joint flying car venture to carry passengers using the electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles of the US firm.
Aiming to launch the service in 2025, ANA will provide know-how in the aviation business, such as flight management technology and pilot training. Toyota is expected to handle the ground transportation for users of the new service.
ANA is believed to have teamed up with Joby in the hope of expanding its customer base by offering more convenient middle-distance transportation in Japan. Joby has developed a five-seat flying car with a maximum cruising distance of about 240km and a maximum speed of 320km/h.
In 2020, Toyota invested $394 million in Joby and started joint development for such vehicles. Toyota will provide the US firm with electrification technology it has cultivated in hybrid and electric vehicles as well as know-how on productivity improvement.
Flying cars, which are similar to ultracompact helicopters, are expected to become a next-generation transportation method using no runways or fossil fuels.
Morgan Stanley of the US estimates that the global market for flying cars will grow to a size of about $1.5 trillion in 2040 from about $7.4 billion in 2020.
There is no strict definition of flying cars, but companies around the world are developing electrically powered passenger vehicles that can be operated automatically and can take off and land vertically.
THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN (JAPAN)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK